HBO Acquires Mavis Staples Documentary

Mavis Staples -- Mavis!
Miikka Skaffari

HBO has acquired the U.S. television rights for Jessica Edwards' documentary on Mavis Staples, Mavis!, and Films We Like has sealed a deal for all rights in Canada. The film had a well-received world premiere at the SXSW Film Festival in March.

No air date is set yet as the film will make the rounds at film festivals through the summer. It will next screen at the  Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, Hot Docs, and the Montclair Film Festival; Stephen Colbert and Mavis Staples will participate in a post-screening discussion at the Montclair, NJ festival.

Staples, who sang two songs at the world premiere in Austin, Texas, released a statement about her documentary: "I've been touring since 1954, and I've been to all kinds of festivals, but I don't think I was at a film festival until my movie screened in Austin. That was something else -- to sit in the audience and see on that big screen the results of me and Jessica talking, all the old pictures and family performances, to hear these music giants say such nice things about me. I cried all my mascara off.

Watch Mavis Staples & Jeff Tweedy Cover John Fogerty in 'Mavis!'

“I am so grateful, knowing all these young people -- whole new generations -- they want to hear my songs and my family's story and what I have to say... I'm really blessed.”

Film First, the Brooklyn-based production company, produced the film, which includes anew and historical footage and commentary from conversations with musical legends Bob Dylan, Bonnie Raitt, Levon Helm and Chuck D. Josh Braun and David Koh of Submarine negotiated the deal for  the filmmakers.

Staples, 75, is wrapping up a tour of Australia and will next perform in Brooklyn, NY, on April 28. Staples and Patty Griffin will be touring together in July beginning July 8 in Interlochen, Mich.

Mavis! - Documentary Trailer from Film First on Vimeo